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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I can't remember a book I enjoyed more. I was quite bereft when I reached ...
I can't remember a book I enjoyed more. I was quite bereft when I reached the end, as I realised that I would no longer be able to delve into the lives of Theo, Boris, Hobie and Pippa. Ms Tartt writes beautifully and although it may sound like a contradiction, as the novel is quite long - sparely. Every word is there for a reason. In short, I loved it. Have bought it for...
Published 10 months ago by Jenny Craig

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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit of a struggle
This book was a bit of a struggle to get through, compared to 'The Secret History' (which is wonderful), it was very slow and i hate to say it, boring, in places. The first few chapters are wonderful and gripped me straight away, and I couldn't wait to read on, but as the story went on, I became frustrated and started to dislike Theo. There are some parts of the book I...
Published 10 months ago by littleblueboat


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth the effort, 18 Jan. 2014
By 
Julia Flyte - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Goldfinch (Hardcover)
I was somewhat apprehensive about reading this book. Firstly, it weighs a ton and secondly, the premise sounded far more odd than compelling: a boy named Theo loses his mother and steals a (real) painting on the same day. Hmm. However almost immediately I was hooked, its length became my friend and I was picking it up at every opportunity to read even a few pages.

Why did I love it so? The writing. The story - let's be honest - is interesting but in the hands of a lesser writer could easily have been forgettable. The characters - with a couple of notable exceptions - are fairly unpleasant. They lie, they swear, they steal, they take far too many drugs and they make terrible decisions. And yes, it probably could have been shorter. There is one section in Las Vegas that seems to go a terribly long time. Still loved it though.

This is a book that feels like every line has been crafted with care and thought and then honed so perfectly that it never interrupts the pace of the reader. Descriptions like: "They were a paid of white mice I thought - only Kitsey was a spun-sugar, fairy-princess mouse whereas Andy was more the kind of luckless, anemic, pet-shop mouse you might feed to your boa constrictor." (Poor Andy was still my favourite character). It takes you right inside Theo's mind. When he grieves for his mother you feel that acute visceral pain along with him. When he's attending a party in a drunken blur, you share the numbness. When you've finished this book, you will feel like you lived his life along with him.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Impressive book both to its volume and quality, made by skillful storyteller, 8 Nov. 2013
This review is from: The Goldfinch (Hardcover)
"The Goldfinch" by Donna Tartt is a literary work that will take some time to read it, but you'll enjoy it fully, both during and after its reading, due to author's masterful style and interesting story.

Main character named Theo Decker when he was young survived an explosion that killed his mother.
He will be left by his alcoholic father, his grandparents that are his only family will ignore him, until he would be accepted by virtual strangers and drawn into the underground world of art.
Feeling only love considering the art, reader will accompany Theo on his life journey, through all the problems that would be placed before him, somehow looking that he puts almost none effort to change his life...

"The Goldfinch" is somehow dark novel but what makes it great read is primarily the author's style and level of details which is hard to describe, managing to make even ordinary things that are happening in everyday life interesting.

Tartt knows with the words being an excellent storyteller, she draws pictures using her words, provides so much details that resulted in a work length of 800 pages which will be really challenging for some readers.
But, those patient readers will enjoy her style certainly; when for example she speaks about winter days reader can actually feel like looking at the scene with her/his own eyes...

Also, what is impressive is how good Donna Tartt managed to write this novel from the male perspective that's a quite uncommon especially given the length of her work.

Speaking about novel's characters, they are nuanced and will quickly go under your skin.
Considering main one especially, the author must get credit for his creation because Theo is well-made and believable character throughout his all turbulent maturing which is followed in the novel.
At the novel beginning he seems like a nice guy to who life wasn't fair, but as plot will gradually unfold he will slowly ceases to be so likeable, given the many opportunities that life affords him to get out of trouble.
But on the contrary it seems that he likes to be around people and getting into situations that will make his life even more complicated.

"The Goldfinch" is an impressive book both to its volume and quality, made by skillful writer that know how to deal with words which are all of them enjoyable, literature work that shows how art can expand human life and make changes in ourselves.

And due to all of that this novel can be highly recommended, although be prepared for a long but pleasant journey through its 800 pages.
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28 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If Graham Greene Wrote a Script for Breaking Bad..., 23 Nov. 2014
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This review is from: The Goldfinch (Kindle Edition)
I've been meaning to read The Goldfinch for some time, mostly because I am intrigued by it's central character being a painting rather than a person... Having just read the last page I am not entirely sure what to say. It is unlike any book I've read. The writing style is exhilarating, if at times a little overwhelming. Can Donna Tartt really know so much about so wide a range of subjects? She either has a glittering talent for research or a kaleidoscopic breadth of life experience. Her capacity to capture and convey just a few vital details and thus to evoke a whole area of culture is mind-boggling: a powerful parallel to the process she herself describes here, where a great artist, with a few brushstrokes can create a vibrant new reality. She names this process as a kind of huge joke, the artist telling us that what we are seeing is at one and the same time the object and not the object. There is an odd sense through 'The Goldfinch' that Tartt, too, is joking. So much of the story comes across both as real and authentic and as outrageously unlikely. we are tempted so often to disbelieve, only to be shown by sleight of hand that the unlikely was possible after all. 'The Goldfinch' is compelling and readable, with a cast of eccentric characters I feel privileged to have met. Tartt's confidence with language sets her apart as a significant writing talent, and there are moments of reflection on art and the nature of beauty that are exceptional.

The more complex aspect of the book is trying to decide what kind of book it is. In parts it reads as a thriller, in parts as a Dickensian comedy of errors, in parts as a tense romance. Its philosophical musings are worthy of Graham Greene but its central plot-line could be straight out of Breaking Bad or The Wire. It's no bad thing to mix genres and defy formulaic rules, but it will be frustrating to some readers. In the end most will fall back on the cadence of Donne Tartt's prose. If you like her style, as rich and fruity as a brandy-soaked Christmas cake, you'll be carried around the genre corners. If, on the other hand, you can live without paragraph-long descriptions that add little or nothing to the plot, you may just find yourself skipping a page or two.

GERARD KELLY, Author of The Boy Who Loved Rain
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read, 22 Aug. 2014
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This review is from: The Goldfinch (Kindle Edition)
Not finished (only just over half way through) but enthralled. Great understanding of intra family relationships and how parent child and sibling love and loyalty endure the strongest tests - to the most extreme and ultimate situations. Also how other relationships succeed when there is non-judgemental understanding between parties. Sensitively yet honestly written, packing no punches even in the most challenging of situations. The author shows such insight it is as if she has experienced it all - perhaps she has. A long book, something that would normally discourage me from even starting it but it was recommended and I have not regretted the decision to read The Goldfinch.
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80 of 92 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Where is a good editor when you really need him/her?, 28 Sept. 2014
This review is from: The Goldfinch (Paperback)
The hype and critical plaudits persuaded me to buy this book, yet here I am, 320 pages into this saga, and I am still reading about Theo and Boris 's endless vodka and vomit scenarios in a bleak and windswept corner of Las Vegas.
I am not only wondering where this unpleasant episode will take me, but also wondering how, after 300 + pages! we finally arrived here; believe me, the journey was far from interesting, the characters were easily forgettable, the plot meandering beyond belief, and I really, really cannot face a further 400 pages of meaningless and uninspiring drivel. My main concern is that I was " duped" into reading he reviews, "conned" into Radio 4's coverage of Ms Tartt's new novel, and sadly, I totally believed the critical acclaim quoted within the book. How can this be so gripping, so heart- stopping, so heart-rendering, so thrilling and touching, so masterful!!
I am a book addict. I am of mature years. I have read hundreds upon hundreds of books. I love reading. So how can this be such an awful novel, yet so highly acclaimed.
There have been many comparisons made between The Goldfinch and Great Expectations. Ignore the references. Please, please take my advice. The autumnal nights will soon be upon us. Buy a copy of " Great Expectations" and sit by an open fire with a comforting drink, and relish the devour the wonderful characters created for you by Mr Dickens. You will remember them all with great affection for years and years to come.
The characters offered to you by Ms Tartt will be forgotten before you turn a page and close the book and place it in a dark space at the very black of a library shelf.........never to be viewed again.
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105 of 121 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliance and paradox, 13 April 2014
This review is from: The Goldfinch (Paperback)
Rarely these days does one find a writer brave enough to confront so unflinchingly the desperateness of the human condition in the 21st century. But Donna Tartt is such a writer and it is this which raises her novel The Goldfinch to the highest level of art. The protagonist Theo Decker has been compared to Pip in Great Expectations but the reality is that this is a far darker tale than Dickens' novel.

Dickens shines a light on the bleakness and wickedness at the heart of 19th century British industrial society but in his novels there is always the conviction that good and right will triumph in the end. This was still a Christian world he was writing about after all and his Victorian audience expected a happy ending even if the reality did not quite live up to it.

But the amoral world Theo Decker inhabits following the death of his mother in a terrorist attack in New York, is a world of unrelieved bleakness where there are no certainties any more. Once on the road to corruption through drugs, deception, stealing and dishonesty there is no way back. Without a family to offer some sort of protection or relief, Theo has absolutely no hope in a society which is fundamentally corrupt at every level.

From the well observed social workers whose job is to process Theo through the care system, to the wealthy Barbour family with their coolly efficient lifestyle, concealing fundamental psychological flaws, Donna Tartt paints a picture of quiet desperation where there is no longer any possibility of finding anything that resembles home ever again. It's a picture of alienation and as such utterly convincing. Only with Hobie the antique restorer and Welty's niece Pippa does Theo find a temporary bolt hole where he can genuinely relax.

But the narrative takes on a darker aspect altogether when Theo's unreliable alcoholic father turns up finally with his new girlfriend Xandra and they move to the outskirts of Las Vegas to a life of gambling, baccarat, drinking and cocaine. It's here that Theo meets Boris, a dissolute but entertaining Ukrainian with a similarly unreliable and violent father, who has lived in Australia. Together they dabble in everything, Vodka, beer, drunken swimming, shoplifting, drugs and sex.

There is a point in this novel when you think, so.. is this simply a rites of passage novel, the move from childhood to adulthood by way of drugs and alienation? Is Theo finally bound to settle for the inevitable dull mediocre future of adult life with its nine to five cycle, chained to the capitalist machine for a lifetime? I mean, what else can there be now? What can there be after you've done everything else, except to end up as a carbon copy of your hopeless father?

But here's the surprise. No. No. That's not it. It's worse. So bad in fact that ultimately there seems to be no way back. Even Theo sees this in the end.

But then just to confound the reader even more, there's a twist. Just when you believe things can't possibly get any worse, the enigma of The Goldfinch,the painting by Fabritius which Theo stole from the museum, works its own magic. The paradox is that hope springs out of paradox. This is the nature of art and love and all greatness.

Donna Tartt writes with the cool eye of the observer standing just far enough away to see clearly. But I defy you not to be moved by The Goldfinch and its finally hopeful message.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars NEVER AGAIN, 25 Mar. 2015
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This review is from: The Goldfinch (Paperback)
I bought this book because of the rave reviews. Just like all the reviewers quoted on the cover, I read a book about a boy and a painting called the Goldfinch. But it was very clever to give the reviewers a different book to the one I read, for that is where the similarity ended. Mostly boring, occasionally nearly interesting, but never Superb, Dazzling or a Triumph. I kept reading in the hope that I would eventually get to the 'point', but sad to say I reached the end on page 864 without ever find out what the 'point' was. Like other reviewers, I found some of he characterisations laboured and inconsistent. But at least I now know never again to read a prizewinning novel. They may be great for literature academics to flex their analytical skills, but I am not an academic and read for pleasure. There was none to be found here. Or maybe I'm just a Philistine.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I don't like "giving up" on a book but this one pushed ..., 25 Jan. 2015
This review is from: The Goldfinch (Hardcover)
I have finally finished this substantial book (it was our choice of novel for our book club) and have wondered why I spent/wasted so much of my time reading this tome - life's just too short. Perhaps I missed the point of the novel but confronted with page after interminable page of drug taking, mental confusion, obsessive behaviour and a Thomas Hardy pessimism that "if it is likely to go wrong it probably will" I willed myself to complete the 800 odd pages with a grim determination. I don't like "giving up" on a book but this one pushed me to the very edge.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars rambling, 5 Mar. 2015
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This review is from: The Goldfinch (Kindle Edition)
I love her original stories and characters, but this is just way too long, and indulgent. Someone needs to edit it down.
The premise is so unusual, it grabs your imagination, but she lost me in her long winded descriptions, and rambling chapters.

I
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another triumph for Donna Tartt!, 2 Sept. 2014
By 
This review is from: The Goldfinch (Kindle Edition)
Donna Tartt's epic novel of over 800 pages chronicles the life of Theo Decker following the tragic death of his beloved mother in a terrorist attack. In the chaos following the bombing of a New York City museum and an encounter with a dying man, Theo becomes the unexpected custodian of a valuable painting - and a ring which leads him to Hobie, antique restorer and certainly the book's most sympathetic character. Theo's journey must be called 'Dickensian' - from his temporary life with an upper class Manhattan family to his nearly feral existence in Las Vegas under the 'guardianship' of his feckless father, he navigates the treacherous waters of modern life as best he can. From his comic, slightly mad Russian school friend Boris... to the ethereal and mysterious Pippa... to the calm and quietly wise Hobie... to a host of rogues and misfits, Theo encounters an incredibly diverse cast of characters in his life's journey. The plot has many unexpected twists and turns, with a major surprise near the end - and a nail-biting climax. Donna Tartt is a brilliant writer and has given us a novel that is both entertaining and challenging - providing food for thought that will linger long after the last page has turned.
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The Goldfinch
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt (Paperback - 5 Jun. 2014)
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